Backpage: The last word in wind -- December 2018

WORLDWIDE: Is climate change heating tempers? Plus Indian electricity figures and facts and a Christmas gift idea for those truly dedicated to their work.

Claire Perry… The minister in a more relaxed mood (pic: Claire Perry/Facebook)
Claire Perry… The minister in a more relaxed mood (pic: Claire Perry/Facebook)

Is climate change heating tempers?

UK energy policy, alongside the economy, health, welfare, education, transport and criminal justice, is having to take a back seat to the apparently never-ending saga of Brexit.

Government ministers have been more concerned with flouncing out of their positions, stabbing each other in the back and plotting leadership challenges than in getting on with doing their jobs.

But the simple truth of the matter is that the UK’s energy policy looks ever more threadbare.

The plan to transition to "low-carbon" generation by expanding the nuclear fleet and establishing a domestic shale-gas industry just keeps bumping into some awkward facts on the ground.

In November came the news, not entirely unexpected, that plans for a new nuclear power station in the north of the country have been scrapped.

Japanese conglomerate Toshiba announced it was winding up its UK subsidiary, NuGeneration, after failing to find a buyer and having to shoulder the ongoing costs of the project — more than £400 million (€450 million) so far.

Meanwhile, the shale-gas industry has made an inauspicious start with work at Cuadrilla’s first site delayed by protests from local residents, and then halted, at least temporarily, by the number and magnitude of seismic tremors recorded.

Cuadrilla’s pleas for the government to relax its "traffic light system", which calls for firms to stop operating if a 0.5-magnitude tremor is registered, have so far been rejected. But watch this space, as they say.

Are these energy policy mishaps getting under the skin of government ministers? Three trade unions representing civil servants have written to the top official at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to raise concerns that energy minister Claire Perry has sworn and screamed at her staff in recent months.

Indian electricity figures and facts

359 TWh Electricity generated in India during Q3 2018, the highest the country has ever recorded

253 TWh Electricity generated by fossil-fuel sources in this period, down 7% from the same quarter in 2017

11.9% Share of renewables in India’s total electricity generation during the quarter. It is the first time the renewables’ share has risen above 10%

8.2% Wind power’s share of India’s electricity output during the quarter, up from 6.3% year on year

Source: Indian government data

If you can’t get enough of your work...

Just in time for Christmas, Lego’s motorised model Vestas turbine has gone on sale, following its sneak preview at WindEnergy Hamburg.

The 800-plus piece set makes a 1-metre-high structure that includes a Vestas service vehicle and service technicians, plus a battery-powered electric motor to spin the blades and fire up the aircraft warning lights.

It is available at $199.99 from the Lego website.

Quote of the month

"We will not tolerate the failure of this or any other government to take robust and emergency action in respect of the worsening ecological crisis. The science is clear, the facts are incontrovertible."

Letter to the Guardian newspaper from 94 UK academics

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